The Girl Scouts of America, that pristine organization of innocence and good values, at the end of January, stepped foot into the seedy world of MySpace with a site promoting this year's cookie drive. On the site you'll find pictures of the cookies and some of the cleanest, most fully-dressed pictures of people you'll ever find on MySpace. The MySpace presence, aside from our tasteless snark, makes perfect sense. Why not hang with the most concentrated collection of tweens and teens anywhere online to build awareness and to, perhaps, as a side benefit, encourage those tweens and teens to...put more clothes on while getting them to buy cookies and join the Girl Scouts...who don't let you wear low-cut, cleavage revealing belly shirts and low rider jeans to their den meetings. Wow. A Campaign With Benefits. Sell cookies and get American youth to fully dress themselves in the morning. Is this a new trend? If this campaign succeeds, will there be no more places online for teenage boys to drool over what they can't get in real life anyway?
Oh damn, our phone's ringing. It must be the Girls Scouts of America telling us to shut up and stop associating all this filth with their fine, upstanding organization. OK, fine. Besides, we have to take our daughter to a den meeting now.
With its classic Jerry Bruckheimer movie-sounding theme music (which draws us in every time for reasons we know not), Sony has released two new PlayStation sites created by Zugara. The two sites offer visitors mini Navy Seal Missions introduced by former real life Navy Seal Rob Roy. After viewing a brief explanation Roy about how a four-man team needs to work with a two-man team, visitors are asked to complete a reconnaissance mission on the FireTeam Bravo 2 site. Once the recon work is completed, a four-man assault mission on the Combined Assault site becomes unlocked, and players are automatically deep-linked back to that site's Crosstalk section so that you can lead the assault team.
Because we work on the internet, we like to entertain the fantasy that we're down with hackers or could have been hackers if we wanted to. This surmise is probably untrue as we haven't yet mastered the art of face-to-face l337-sp33k.
The spiffy rogues at Hanft Raboy and Partners put forth Discover Hackistan, a hacker community that scoffs at tired bourgeois trimmings like intellectual property and valorizes everyday net annoyances as seeds of revolution. Hackistan's one enemy is Fortify Software, the status quo superheroes characterized by fringey promos of this type from Hanft. We dig it.
Kitschy hacker country aside, Fortify shows it doesn't mind laughing at itself as sworn saviours of web uniformity. An "open letter" running in magazines includes an invitation for Hackistan citizens to "Join the world community and enjoy the benefits of globalization: soaring divorce rates, mindless entertainment and obesity." And if that's not compelling enough, consider the consequences of contributing to the free-for-all programming universe. Ooh, it gives us the shudders.
Sinless points us to The Metallers, a pair of awkward fame-seekers who remind us why heavy metal was so good for the furniture industry. And maybe also the Ritalin industry.
We covered The Fame Game when it first came out and were intrigued back then at what kind of entries appeared. After the long "we-want-your-stuff!" marketing craze, and the small CGM gems that appeared in the Super Bowl, one forgets that for the most part pure consumer-gen will consist mainly of bedroom dancing and awkward pillow-tossing.
We liked Finding Nemo. Cute animation and grisly clownfish family massacre aside, every character had a flaw to overcome and a dark side to deal with. That's what turns frothy animated fun into something meaningful, slightly scary and mildly subversive.
To tell what we're sure is a painful and amusing story about their ups and downs, Little Big Brands brings together major talent like animator Alexandru Sacui and musical guru Woody Pak. The result is three full minutes of sweet little cliches - big fish in little pond, fish out of water, other fish in the sea. Where's the challenge, the struggle and the shame? Three minutes is a long time - a very long time - to watch fish without so much as a glimmer of sharkfin over the horizon.
For album "Year Zero," Nine Inch Nails sets fans on a scavenger hunt with a series of webpages predicting the future. One example is Another Version of the Truth, a picture of a seemingly gentler America. When you click and drag your mouse, the pastoral picture reveals a desolate wasteland.
The first of the sites was discovered by fans who put together a set of highlighted words on a tour shirt. After that a spiral of other sites were found with roughly the same end-of-the-world, fascist/religious theme.
The effort was orchestrated by 42 Entertainment, the mad geniuses responsible for the Halo 2 campaign that sparked a dramatic nationwide search for a princess trapped in cyberspace.
Swedish group Garbergs uses the "Cribs" angle to push the multi-faceted new line of models by Mitsubishi. At Not Everybody's Car we explore the garage of LA inhabitant Action Jackson who of course is ostentatiously hip-hop and has a showroom-caliber set-up of cars that flash and buzz when you mouse over them.
Hiding an interactive test-drive opportunity in the "Cribs" and hip-hop motifs is a clever way to generate brand buzz. Oh, except that it's not. Nobody buys this stuff anymore. "Cribs" is played-out and everybody tries to use the hip-hop angle. When we're bored, we don't sit around cyber test-driving cars with our bosom buddy Action Jackson. We play on Digg so we can talk shit about big companies that try to trick us, share WoW tips and swap really important news generally related to Apple.
In his long-winded mod-turtleneck way, Youtube philosopher Sergei explains why anti-smoking scare tactics like this fuel stigma but don't actually help serious smokers, who just feel alienated and become more defensive about their right to smoke.
Sergei makes some good points even if he's probably preaching to the choir. We also like that he smokes throughout, and puts points in subtitles. That's panache. In fact we're pretty sure that most people who like to puff while listening to themselves talk in a small cafe would elect for subtitles or at least bullets to illustrate their wisdom if they could. (We would anyway.)
Unfortunately, even savvy marketers are hard-pressed to work out how to foster a non-smoking culture in a way that encourages non-smokers to pursue a better quality of life but doesn't insult their intelligence.
It was only a matter of time before a game as fun as Crazy Taxi would reincarnate in ad promo form. That's what Nokia has done for its interactive film/game The Passenger, which is pretty engaging. The music ain't bad either.
You're a driver on the night streets of Paris when a sultry woman hops in and urgently asks to be transported to three addresses. At aid is the Nokia Multimedia Car Kit CK-20W, a nifty GPS-stocked device, but follow directions or your passenger will throw insults at you. Don't you love doing life-saving favours for people who get all bitchy?
The game was put together by the interesting mindfolk at Hyper Happen, Fuel Industries and Karbon Arc, and features footage of Paris shot just last November. Thanks Netanel for the tip. We don't want to sound too excited but this would make a pretty decent (if really, really short) standalone video game. Then again, we're not actually gamers, we're biased ad people, so we imagine actual joystick jockeys are rolling their eyes in disgust right now.
Alumni from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) started production company The Dandy Dwarves and were tapped by their alma mater to create an interactive viral marketing campaign.
The fruits of their labour? SCAD Shorts. The object: guess the title of the bizarre spot playing on the screen. The trick: titles must always have the SCAD acronym.
This is harder than it sounds but results in some weird videos.
Repeat visitors get a running chance of winning - what else? - an iPod.